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Carol Ann Duffy: The World's Wife

4. Mrs Midas

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about the fourth poem in the collection, ‘Mrs Midas’, focusing in particular on: (i) the story of Midas as it appears in Ovid’s Metamorphoses; (ii) the contrast between mythology and domestic reality – e.g. the vegetables on the stove, the steamed-up windows, etc.; (iii) the contrast between reality and fantasy; (iv) the slow separation of husband and wife – from separate beds to separate living arrangements (“So he had to move out”); (v) the relationship between man and wife (“What gets me now is … lack of thought for me”); and (vi) the contrast between what you already have versus what you want.


In this course, Professor John McRae (University of Nottingham) explores Carol Ann Duffy’s 1999 collection, 'The World's Wife'. After a brief introduction to the collection as a whole, the course continue with a read-through and analysis of each of the thirty poems in the collection, one by one.


John McRae is Special Professor of Language in Literature Studies and Teaching Associate in the School of English at Nottingham University, and holds Visiting Professorships in China, Malaysia, Spain and the USA. He is co-author of The Routledge History of Literature in English with Ron Carter, and also wrote The Language of Poetry, Literature with a Small 'l' and the first critical edition of Teleny by Oscar Wilde and others.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

McRae, J. (2020, April 28). Carol Ann Duffy: The World's Wife - Mrs Midas [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

McRae, J. "Carol Ann Duffy: The World's Wife – Mrs Midas." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 28 Apr 2020,